Actions

Work Header

The Hot Hipster Chef Documentary

Work Text:

When the War On Hunger food truck pulled into the TOBRU parking lot on a quiet Thursday night, after a very noisy rest-of-his-Thursday, Steve heaved a sigh of relief. Thursday night diners at TOBRU tended to be rich, elderly couples who would want a snack after leaving the restaurant and would be good customers. Maybe not big tippers, but polite patrons, which Steve could use after today.

He loved his job, and he liked people on the whole, but sometimes he encountered what he wouldn’t call the best of humanity. Catcalling jerks Steve had to chase off from the benches in the public park, rude, entitled businessmen trying to edge bike messengers out of the sandwich line, and the odd pigeon-kicker. Today he’d had the hat-trick of all three, so settling in for a low-maintenance evening outside TOBRU, maybe ending in a late dinner and a beer with Tony and Bruce, was just what he wanted.

Then Tony came running out of the TOBRU kitchen like he was on fire (this had happened, though only briefly and usually it was his own fault) and began banging on the closed service hatch. Steve startled out of his seat and fell to the floor of the truck, half-crawling between the chiller and cold-service on one side and the stove and warming boxes on the other. He opened the back door and slithered out, confronted by a breathless Tony and now also a disheveled-looking Bruce.

“Steve!” Tony said, and he looked…really upset.

“What?” Steve asked. “What’s going on, you look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“We just saw the video,” Bruce said.

“The video?” Steve asked.

There was a long pause.

“The video. About you. That went viral. Which I texted you about when I should have been prepping the tuna steaks,” Tony said. Bruce cuffed the back of his head. “They’re done! They’re done, I swear, I had the new kid do them.”

“I turned my phone off,” Steve admitted. “The battery was low this morning, so I just tweeted where I was gonna be and switched it off.”

“So you…have not been on the internet,” Tony said.

“No.”

“And nobody told you about the video?” Bruce asked.

“What video?” Steve roared, exasperated.

Tony held out his phone. “I swear, we didn’t know they were recording. I have access to lawyers, we could sue. You say the word, you can have your pick of brutal, flesh-eating fiftysomething litigation attorneys. A lot of them eat here.”

Steve barely heard him over the video, which was a very well-edited, reasonably interesting, nicely shot documentary.

About Steve Rogers, the chef, owner, and cashier of the War On Hunger food truck in Manhattan.

The title card read WAR ON HUNGER: QUEST FOR THE HOT HIPSTER CHEF.

***

After the cookout and Loki Odinson’s defeat at the hands of a plucky team of independent restauranteurs, Steve got a lot of local attention. Good Morning America asked him to come on, but he thought it would be better if he just did a quick segment from his truck. Someone from one of the networks, it was never quite clear who or which network, wanted to do a reality show about him; Steve politely declined. Street fairs started contacting him to see if he was coming, instead of waiting for him to find them. That was actually very helpful.

But he’d definitely said no to most of the media coverage, and the reality shows in particular; he’d left formal work in a fixed kitchen because he was feeling too commodified.

He would have remembered participating in a youtube documentary made by an aspiring indy filmmaker.

The opening of the movie was just a bunch of people saying “The hot hipster chef.” "Oh, the hot hipster chef?“ "War On Hunger, sure, with the hot hipster chef.” “Hey, he’s the hot hipster chef!”

“It’s an ongoing theme in the work,” Bruce said, as Steve watched the little video on Tony’s phone in dire horror. “That you are hot, a hipster, and a chef.”

“I really need you to understand we didn’t know we were being filmed,” Tony said, just as the video flashed Tony’s face on the screen, and little-phone-screen Tony said “Yeah, they call him the hot hipster chef. He hates that.”

“It’s okay, Tony, that’s not even in my top ten reasons this annoys me,” Steve said, handing him the phone back before the seventy minute (seventy minutes!) documentary really got rolling. Tony silenced it and Steve slumped onto the back step of his truck, rubbing his head.

“It explains why I had a big lunch crowd today, I guess,” he said finally.

“You should maybe watch it all – ” Bruce began, and Tony jammed an elbow into his ribs. Bruce growled something in French, and Tony edged away slowly. Steve gave them a dry smile.

“This thing is blowing up, though,” Tony said, casting a nervous look at Bruce. “You’re going to be the next 24 hours of the news cycle. You should beef up your website’s servers.”

“I just used SquareSpace,” Steve said.

“Hipster,” Tony snorted. “Charge your phone in my office if you want, you need to be spinning this tonight. Even if you don’t want any publicity, this could do a lot for your free sandwiches program and anyway you need to manage what’s already happened. whether or not you want to harness its awesome power for your own.”

“What do I say?” Steve asked haplessly.

Tony and Bruce exchanged glances.

***

War On Hunger * @onestarsteve * June 15
I’ve been selling sandwiches and disdaining mainstream culture all day so I haven’t seen @hothipsterchefquest ’s work yet.

War On Hunger * @onestarsteve * June 15
I will internet-rate it in fresh, organic tomatoes when I do.

War On Hunger * @onestarsteve * June 15
But if you think I’m hot, you should try my sweet chili chicken wings.

***

“Tony, I told you not to touch my phone,” Steve said, staring down in horror at the activity on his twitter profile. None of which he’d set up himself.

“I did you a favor. Chicken wings are super cheap right now, you can pick up like a hundred pounds of them tonight and fry as you go tomorrow.”

“That’s not what this is about and you know it!”

Tony, tucking into the last of the kitchen leftovers at the little back table at TOBRU, shrugged unrepentantly. “If you really didn’t want me tweeting you shouldn’t have made your password ‘ihatetwitter’.”

Steve stared at him, open-mouthed.

“It is a terrible, drastically overrated platform, I agree,” Tony continued, as Thor poured Steve another beer. “But we work with the world as it is, not as we wish it would be.”

There was a beep, and Steve looked down at his phone.

***

War On Hunger * @onestarsteve * June 15
And announcing my Documentary Special tomorrow: if you DON’T tell me you think I’m hot, you get a free chicken wing!

***

“How are you doing this?” Steve demanded.

“I set up staggered posts on your Hootsuite.”

“That isn’t such a bad idea,” Thor pointed out, reading the newest post over his shoulder. “Should save you a lot of grief. If not a lot of chicken wings.”

“Just give them the duds and the tiny ones. Everyone’ll want to buy a drink and tip you anyway,” Tony said.

“You are overinvested in my success,” Steve told him.

“Considering if you went bankrupt I’d probably get you as a sous-chef on the cheap, you’re damn right I’m overinvested. I’m just a giving person,” Tony said. “Seriously, though, you should take one of our staff with you tomorrow. You’re gonna be mobbed, you can’t handle that level of service alone.”

“He could take the new guy, Peter,” Bruce suggested.

“No, Parker needs to learn how to kick the pasta station just right to make the burners go on,” Tony said. He beamed at Steve. “I’ll come with you.”

Steve downed the rest of his beer and shot Thor a grateful look as he refilled his glass.

“Sure,” he said wildly, because he was about to be a media darling again, and Tony had just volunteered to spend the whole day in his food truck with him, and he had the odd feeling that this might be a dream. “Ride along tomorrow, why not.”

“See?” Tony said. “Was that so difficult? This’ll be great.”

***

War On Hunger * @onestarsteve * June 16
On our way to early lunch service outside Central Park Zoo. Special guest star in the truck today.

War On Hunger * @onestarsteve * June 16
Everyone say hi to Tony Stark of TOBRU, playing prep chef for War On Hunger today!

War On Hunger * @onestarsteve * June 16
The “free wingmobile” is on its way to late lunch at NYU. SE corner of Washington Square Park.

War On Hunger * @onestarsteve * June 16
Steve IS signing autographs, is NOT signing body parts! (He’s shy!)

War On Hunger * @onestarsteve * June 16
Heard there was a guerilla evening screening of the documentary. If you can find the screening you’ll find us!

***

Steve hadn’t planned to actually watch the screening that a couple of ingenious tech-heads had set up illegally in the corner of some tiny park in Soho. He was just going to park the truck, open the hatch, and sell the last of the chicken wings, along with some rosemary-parmesan popcorn, to hungry passers-by. But once the film started playing, business died off sharply, and he found himself sitting on the back of the truck, Tony munching on popcorn next to him, watching himself on film.

It was a cleverly shot documentary. They’d even interviewed him without him noticing them filming. He’d just thought they were two particularly chatty bike messengers with a GoPro.

And they did pretty well by him. They talked about his focus on cheap, healthy food and providing free food to people who needed it; they talked about his truck, which was nice, nobody ever talked about how much work went into maintaining a full kitchen inside a truck. And they talked about Tobru and SHIELD and Mjolnir, so that his friends all got some publicity too.

Tony was distracted by his phone, probably cracking more of Steve’s password to make him some kind of Tumblr star or something, when Tony’s face appeared on the screen. Steve sat up, watching as the interviewers approached Tony while he was taking a break in the TOBRU alley. In the background of the film he could see himself slipping a stack of soup containers to one of the homeless kids who normally hung out a few blocks from Mjolnir.

Steve had to admit the people who’d made the sneak documentary were really good at getting people to talk – not that Tony ever needed much encouragement.

“No, we like having him here,” Tony said, on the screen. Tony next to him hadn’t yet looked up from his phone.

“Not hard on the eyes,” one of the casual-interviewers said.

“It’s a beautiful truck. I mean it’s no sports car but he keeps it clean and for a biodiesel hybrid it runs like a dream,” Tony said. Steve covered his mouth with one hand, grinning.

“A lot of people think the guy who drives it runs like a dream too,” the other said.

Tony on the screen laughed. “Yeah? Good for him. I mean that part I thought everyone knew, what do they call him? The hot hipster chef.”

“DO they?”

“Yeah, they call him the hot hipster chef. He hates that.”

“Why?”

“He claims he can’t be a hipster, he doesn’t like things ironically.”

“Does he?”

“As far as I can tell, everything Steve likes, he likes in earnest,” Tony said, and his face turned fond. “It’s endearing. You don’t meet many people so genuine in their passions. If Steve loves something he loves it full-on. And if he doesn’t like something, God help anyone who gets in his way. He is frustratingly idealistic. It can make you very crazy.”

Steve glanced at Tony, who looked up at him finally. “What? What’s – ”

Steve pointed at the screen, where one of the interviewers asked, “So you know him pretty well, huh?”

“I think so.”

“Are you guys like, together?”

Tony, next to him, stiffened.

“What are you, People Magazine?” the Tony on screen asked, amused. “Nah. I mean, I’m married to the kitchen, and he’s the hot hipster chef, he’s probably getting tons of ass. Not in the truck,” on-screen Tony added thoughtfully. “That’s probably illegal. Definitely unhygienic. But I assume he doesn’t live in it. He smells too good to be someone who lives in their food truck.”

Tony, next to him, spasmed.

“I forgot that part was in it,” he whispered to Steve.

“Do you think I smell good?” Steve whispered back.

“Are you telling me you don’t even smell that good on purpose?” Tony hissed.

“Did you just admit you like how I smell in a viral video on the internet?” Steve demanded.

“It seemed less incriminating when I was watching it alone on my phone!”

“Do you – do you really think I’m sexy?”

“Steve. Everyone who thinks of men as sexual creatures thinks you’re sexy. I speak for the masses,” Tony replied. “In a totally objective way and definitely not related to my desire to savage you sexually somewhere that wouldn’t cause any health violations.”

“Savage me?” Steve asked, torn between awe and terror.

“Teeth and fingernails would almost definitely get involved. I mean as long as you’d be into that,” Tony said carefully. “I can…be…gentle.”

Steve watched as Tony got the “well that was inappropriate, what I just said” face. He liked that face; it was one of those things that proved Tony was human and not some kind of culinary science machine fueled by coffee and ego.

“Are you going to be pissed if I pull a PR error and leave this movie right now?” Steve asked.

Tony nodded, standing. “You wanna blow, I’ll make your excuses – ”

“…with you, Tony, I want to ditch the movie with you, because you are absolutely right, making out in the truck isn’t hygienic,” Steve said.

Tony froze, eyes wide and dark. “So…”

“Yeah, Tony.”

“All the time we spent in the truck together today, like, bumping into each other and shoving each other out of the way and stuff – ”

“It was really fun and I like touching you,” Steve blurted.

“ – I could have been grabbing your ass that whole time?”

Steve covered his face with one hand. “Yes, Tony, that is also true.”

“I will make you breakfast. You’ve never had one of my breakfasts,” Tony said, climbing past him into the truck, deftly locking down most of the cabinets. He handed the last few bags of popcorn to Steve, who carried them over to the staff who were running the projector, and by the time Steve was back, the truck’s service hatch was closed, the back door was locked, and Tony was in the passenger’s seat.

“As I was saying, my breakfasts are amazing,” Tony said, and Steve leaned across the gearshift and kissed him.

“Would you like to come home with me?” he asked.

“So, so much,” Tony said fervently.

“Okay, well, the rules are, you do have to make me breakfast, and you aren’t allowed to laugh at my vintage poster collection or my vinyl,” Steve said, firing up the van and pulling out into traffic.

“Your vinyl what?” Tony asked. Steve blinked at him.

“Records. Vinyl records,” Steve said, and Tony laughed so hard Steve almost ran a red light trying to get him to control himself.